“We once worked with a celebrity client who is passionate about animal rescue, and has a lot of pets. She wanted a whole area in her house designated to her dogs. Essentially, we created a dog bedroom, complete with a dozen dog beds, a chandelier-lit vaulted ceiling, a lounge area and direct access to an enclosed dog run.”
–Kara Smith, Interior Designer
Past Clients Include: Josh Duhamel and Fergie, Derek Fisher
Clients can be divas. Over the course of a designer’s career there may come a project where the concept of “money is no object” is pushed to the extreme for a high-profile project. Luckily, Cindy Rinfret, principal designer of Rinfret, Ltd. has experience catering to celebrity clientele with out of this world style, but not over the top taste.
Best known for her luxurious, yet comfortable design aesthetic, Cindy has defined true “Classic Greenwich Style” for thirty years, and her high-profile clients include Tommy Hilfiger and Regis Philbin to name a few. GDG chatted with Cindy about designing for possibly the most challenging sort of celebrity – one with a career in fashion and design. While no dog quarters were required for this project, her client, design icon Tommy Hilfiger, did request Schumacher’s custom, naturally cultivated, hand-laid feather wallcovering.
Holly Speck, GDG Editor: When working with a celebrity client do you approach anything differently?
Cindy Rinfret: Celebrity clients tend to be a bit more fashion forward and adventurous with their designs. I always try to introduce truly “one of a kind” designs that reflect their lifestyle and sense of style.
HS: When working with a celebrity client so tuned into fashion and color like Tommy Hilfiger, what are some of the challenges?
CR: As with any other client, keeping focused is important. Tommy has a lot of fabulous ideas and my job is to interpret and execute the best and always add details that reflect the client vision.
HS: In Hilfiger’s powder room with walls covered in feathers, where did you find your inspiration? How would you describe this design aesthetic?
CR: The powder room was inspired by the “country house” aesthetic. The walls are pheasant feathers, which, in nature have the most amazing color palette. Only nature could come up with such a perfect color scheme. The antique pedestal with custom zinc sink I found was art unto itself. I loved how it reinforced the age and detail of the home. I also designed all the paneled woodwork to coordinate with the woodwork through this historic, turn-of-the-century home. The stag antique sconces continue the country house aesthetic.
HS: What are your tips for interior designers working with celebrity clients, especially ones with design knowledge?
CR: When dealing with celebrities, the most important thing is to honor their privacy and life. That is how you build a lifelong client. And that’s true with all clients, not just celebrities. A knowledgeable and creative client is an advantage for any interior designer because they understand the design language and appreciate the role a designer plays in taking their concepts and making them a reality.
HS: What is your favorite project that you have designed for Tommy Hilfiger and Why?
CR: The Plaza turret room in Tommy Hilfiger’s penthouse was a truly amazing experience. For this project, I spent a month with Hilary Knight, the artist who created Eloise at The Plaza. We created a mural that reflected all the classics, inspired by the storied Plaza history, and then we integrated Tommy’s own family members into the design. It was an honor to work in this iconic room, for an iconic designer with the iconic artist Hilary Knight…lucky me!
HS: How do you define, “Classic Greenwich Style”?
CR: Timeless, classic, always inspired taste.
HS: If you could have another interior designer design your home who would it be and why?
CR: Hermés. It’s not a person, but a concept of quality, classic and timeless design.
HS: How have you grown as a designer over the years and how has your aesthetic changed or matured?
CR: The more you have exposure to the world, art, museums and travels the more it allows you to evolve as an artist. Experiencing other cultures and bringing back inspiration from everywhere I have traveled has made me a much better designer. The inspiration I find from different styles, materials and influences helps my designs feel collected and sophisticated.
HS: What has been your biggest design accomplishment?
CR: My daughter is now in the design business and it is gratifying to see that all the years bringing her with me to antique shows, show houses and travels has laid the foundation for this talented young woman to carry on in my trade.
Explore more of Cindy Rinfret’s designs here and be sure to check out the library of unique styles available at Schumacher.